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Proceedings of the 2006 WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Heat and Mass Transfer, Miami, Florida, USA, January

18-20, 2006 (pp42-45)

Thermostatic Mixing Valves – Thermostatic temperature distribution during various operating conditions
Joakim Wren, Peter Persson and Dan Loyd Department of Mechanical Engineering Linköpings universitet, SE − 581 83 Linköping, S WEDEN Abstract: A model of a thermostat used in thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) has been developed. The model contains realistic boundary conditions and material properties including the latent heat corresponding to a mixture of waxes inside the thermostat. The temperature-time characteristics show a relatively slow heating of the thermostat regardless of the flow rate. This implies an improvement potential for the thermostat and thus the entire valve. Key–Words: Thermostatic mixing valves, Thermostat, heat flux, Modeling and simulation, Phase transition



Thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) are important components in many heating, refrigeration and sanitary systems. The demands on such systems have increased the last years, for example due to new safety standards [1]. In this study we look at the temperature distribution inside the thermostat, which is responsible for the thermostat’s function as a combined sensor/actuator. The thermostat contains a specific mixture of waxes and all waxes in the mixture undergo a phase transition within the working temperature interval of the valve. The thermostat is also influenced by among others the heat flux from the surrounding, which in turn is affected by e.g. the flow conditions in the proximity of the thermostat. In this study a finite element model of the thermostat including the temperature dependent thermal conductivity, the specific and latent heat of the mixture of waxes and the convective heat transfer. The results show a temperature distribution that varies greatly in both axial and radial directions throughout the response time for the valve for all investigated conditions.

Figure 1: The thermostatic mixing valve. Cold water inlet is at the bottom of the valve, hot water inlet to the left and mixed water outlet to the right. The height of the valve is approximately 100 mm.

2 Materials and Methods
2.1 The valve and thermostat
A thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) mixes hot and cold water to a preset mean temperature. The TMV investigated is ESBE series30 HR valve (ESBE AB, Reftele, Sweden) which has a short response time and stable mixed water temperature under varying water pressure, flow and temperature conditions. The valve is shown in Fig.1.

The valve regulation emerges from a thermostatic element (thermostat) located in the water-stream inside the valve. The thermostat contains a phase change material consisting of copper powder and a specific mixture of waxes, which change its density upon heating and thereby bring rise to the control. The wax mixture also contains a significant amount of copper powder in order to increase the thermal diffusivity and thereby the speed of the thermal response. The thermostat forces a plastic shuttle to move towards/against a spring feed-back mechanism, which determine the cold and hot water intake (see Fig.2).

35. see e. and the thermal conductivity was 230. respectively. ki is the thermal conductivity (i=r ˙ is a heat sink or source.0. hB is 4500 kW/m2 for the lowest horizontal face of the thermostat. giving the result shown in Fig. conductivity measurements were carried out at 20. and Q can vary in both time and space.2 and 2. All parameters and z ).1. The equation is used together with a convective (Neumann) boundary condition. January 18-20. brass and rubber of the thermostat. c is the specific heat capacity. The surrounding temperature is given by T∞ . Also measurements of the combined effect of specific/latent heat of the copper/wax mixture were carried out at discrete temperatures. 8430 and 1100 kg/m3 respectively.Proceedings of the 2006 WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Heat and Mass Transfer. is given by 1 ∂ ∂T = r ∂r ∂t ∂T ∂r ∂ ∂z ∂T ∂z ˙ (1) +Q Figure 3: The geometry of the thermostat showing its principle parts included in the model. 2006 (pp42-45) Outlet Thermostat (Probe) Inlets: hot and cold Shuttle Spring Figure 2: Schematic picture of the valve in Fig. ∂T ∂T lz + hB (T − T∞ ) = 0 l r + kz ∂z ∂r kr (2) Equation (1) was solved along with appropriate boundary conditions for the present geometry using the simulation software Femlab 3i (Comsol AB. USA. linearly decreasing from 9600 to 6000 for the long vertical face. the specific heat 385.3) comprises the thermostat including the phase-change copper/wax mixture in its surrounding of flowing water at three flow rates (4. T = Ti (t. . ρc kr r + kz for an isotropic material where ρ is the density. r and z .2 Governing equations and boundary conditions The heat transport in the thermostat is given by the heat conduction equation (1). In this case the convective heat flux is descried by equation (2). Miami.0 W/mK respectively. hB is the convective heat transfer coefficient and lr and lz are the direction cosines. All parameters can vary in both time and space. z ) is the temperature. 2. 43 and 51 ◦ C. t is time. Interpolation was carried out along with the simulations. For the other flow rates. 2. Sweden). which as the name indicates exhibits simulation capabilities based on the Finite Element Method (FEM). r.g. See e. see e. 3. For the copper/wax mixture. [3]. For the lowest flow rate (4 l/min). [2]. Further details of the values and measurement of hB for the flow cases are found in [4]. 2. which in axialsymmetric cylindrical co-ordinates. 400 and 2000 J/kgK respectively. Simulations were carried out for three flow cases.g. 3000 for the upper horizontal face and 2000 for the vertical curved part. the density was 8850. 10 and 20 liters per minute.g.3 Simulation model The axi-symmetric simulation model (Fig. 10 and 20 liters per minute).4. Florida. all these are handbook values.8.24 W/mK respectively. For the copper. hB was increased by approximately 50 and 90%. 110 and 0. [2]. giving a conductivity of 3. each corresponding to a set of measured [4] space-dependent convective heat transfer coefficients (hB ).

this implies an improvement potential for the thermostat and thus the entire valve. USA. both at a radius of 1 mm and at axial locations 3 and 15 mm from the bottom of the thermostat. These affect the valve/thermostat characteristics. Acknowledgement 4 Discussion The temperature distribution inside a thermostat of a TMV has under various operating conditions been analyzed using modeling and computer simulation. See e. both at ESBE AB. The temperaturetime derivative is slightly larger for the higher boundary heat fluxes. B Flow 10. This is an interesting problem from a thermal point of view. 3 Results The temperature as a function of time for each flow condition is given in Fig. Florida. Another reason is the various transition temperatures for the wax mixture. before their derivative increases again. B Flow 20. A Flow 4. The study was supported by The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. The temperature-time plots in Fig. B 50 Temperature [°C] 40 due to the steep pressure and temperature gradients present inside the valve [5] as well as the large spatially and temporally dependent convective heat transfer at the boundary of the thermostat [4].4 where the curves tend to flatten out at slightly below 30 ◦ C. as the valve is classified as a high performance valve meeting among others the Asse (American Society of Sanitary Engineering) no. The temperature-time characteristics of the thermostat show a relatively slow heating regardless of the flow rate.1016 standard which demands a response time less than four seconds. It is also interesting to note that the curves tend to flatten out at between 30 and 40 ◦ C. . The temperature decreases from the bottom to the top of the thermostat.5 for two locations. This is quite unexpected. The relatively low thermal conductivity of the mixture together with the latent heat of the phase transition in the copper wax mixture decreases the thermal diffusivity and thus slow down the heating of the mixture.Eng. This effect is actually seen in Fig. Miami. Nils Hjelte and Eng. 10 and 20 l/min at a radius of 1 mm and axial locations 3 and 15 mm (A and B respectively) from the bottom of the thermostat. January 18-20. Ulf Bengtsson at Linköping university for accurate design of the thermostat dummy. [7] for a discussion of response times. There is an axial temperature difference inside the thermostat throughout the simulated time.Lic. An interesting finding is that after four seconds after a temperature step. This is among others actualized by the risk for invasion of Legionellae bacteria [6]. One reason is that this temperature coincides with the temperature for which the largest change in specific heat and thermal conductivity (increase and decrease. Altogether. the temperature distribution inside the thermostat is far from equilibrated. Dan Bengtsson. 60 Flow 4.g. respectively) occurs. The author is very grateful to Tech. 2006 (pp42-45) 2500 Specific heat [J/kgK] 2000 1500 1000 500 20 30 40 50 Temperature [°C] 60 Figure 4: The combined specific/latent heat of the copper wax mixture measured at discrete temperatures and fitted by a cubic spline function.Proceedings of the 2006 WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Heat and Mass Transfer. This means that other aspects than the heat flux over the boundary dominates the situation. and the combined effect of the specific and latent heats can be seen in the presented graphs. A Flow 20. 30 5 20 0 1 2 Time [s] 3 4 5 Conclusion Figure 5: Temperature in the copper/wax mixture as a function of time for the flows 4. which in turn are responsible for the performance and safety classification of the valve. A Flow 10. and to Res. for fruitful discussions during this work.4 show that the the large difference in heat transfer coefficients associated with the various flow rates do not have a substantial impact of the temperature inside the copper/wax mixture.

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